It’s Summertime. It’s Phoenix. It’s a desert. You bet it’s HOT!

How hot is it?

It’s so hot…I used the hot glue gun today for 20 minutes before I realized it wasn’t plugged in.

It’s so hot…The gift baskets are unwrapping themselves.

It’s so hot…The Goldwater’s Chili Mix is having an identity crisis.

It’s so hot…Instead of a fancy bow, the gift baskets are wearing shorts and flip flops.

Ok, so none of those are really true, just a little gift basket humor there for ya. It is 108 -110 degrees outside right now in Phoenix, maybe the heat has gone to my brain a little.
But in all seriousness, It’s so hot…we don’t ship chocolate during these hot summer months, typically mid-March through mid-October. Why not? Well, in order to maintain the integrity of the arrangement, and help ensure the happiness and satisfaction of the recipient, we substitute non-meltable products for any chocolate items typically found in the arrangement. Often times the chocolate products are replaced with comparably priced treats such as candy rocks (jelly beans), Cheri’s Desert Harvest prickly pear cactus candy, Arizona high-desert pistachios; or chocolate Fairytale brownies, Urban Oven cocoa shortbread cookies or handmade chocolate biscotti.

Did you know that fudge has a melting point of 240 degrees, so it will only melt if you heat it up to that temperature? As a result we are able to include our Cerreta’s fudge in shipped gift baskets, or as a substitute for meltable chocolate products. Fudge may get soft in the summer heat, but it won’t melt like a candy bar. If it does get soft, simply put it in a cool place (air conditioned room) and it will firm right back up again.

At M.R. Designs & Gifts we do everything we can to ensure the integrity of our shipped packages.

Here’s something else you probably didn’t know: During the hot summer months, we coordinate with our shipping vendors for extra-late drop off. That way, our packages are not riding around in a truck, or sitting around on a dock somewhere, during the hottest part of the afternoon getting baked in the heat. Our packages stay cool in our studio until the absolute latest drop off available…so our packages leave the city in the cool of the evening and are off to their destinations. Yes, this takes extra time, and yes, this means driving extra distance, but we feel the integrity of the gift arrangement is worth the extra care.

So, stay cool. Stay hydrated. Protect your skin. And, enjoy Arizona!

Talk with you later.

The old saying goes, “The motherly advice you ignore will always turn out to be the best advice she ever gave you.”

So in honor of Mother’s Day this year we asked you…

What is one piece of advice your mom taught you when you were younger that, although you may not have agreed with it at the time, you’ve found to be the most helpful in your life?

We asked for emailed submissions and promoted the contest through our e-newsletter, facebook and twitter accounts, and other. We then held a random drawing of all the contest submissions, and Mimi R. of Sun City West was our winner!

Here’s is Mimi’s submission:

“Before you do or say anything, take time to think how your decision will not only reflect on you, but on every member of your family…and make very sure that decision will reflect positively”

Mimi won a Mother’s Day Pampering Gift Basket valued at over $120!

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. Here is some of the other “Mother Knows Best” advice we received:

“It’s not the results that matter; it’s the journey to the end that is the adventure.”

“If you want something done right YOU have to do it yourself!!!”

So remember, “The only thing more accurate than a mother’s advice is her memory of the times you didn’t take it.”

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Did you know that Administrative Professionals Week is one of the largest workplace observances outside of employee birthdays and major holidays? It is celebrated worldwide.

Since 1952, the International Association of Administrative Professionals has honored office workers by sponsoring Administrative Professionals Week. In 2000, IAAP changed the name for Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day, in order to keep pace with changing job titles and the expanding responsibilities of the administrative workforce.

According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, there are more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants working in the United States today, and 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles. Administrative Professionals Week is always the last full week in April. In 2011, Administrative Professionals Week is April 24-30, and Administrative Professionals Day is Wednesday, April 27.

When you would like to honor the administrative professionals in your life, let us help! Whether you choose our Cheesecake Tower, a selection of made-in-Arizona gourmet pampering spa products, or a useful Desk Organizer Snack Tower, we would love to be a part of your special sentiment!

M.R. Designs & Gifts
http://www.mrdesignsandgifts.com/
Studio: 602-266-5572
10 Years in Business!
2001-2011

Yes, these are the old-fashioned, fabulously delicious and addicting, Cinnamon Roasted Pecans that you find at farmer’s markets and carnivals. A fantastically sweet and nutty treat, and we’ve got them. Made right here in Arizona, with Arizona-grown pecans, no less!

These Cinnamon Roasted Arizona Pecans are featured alongside a variety of chocolate and other decadent delights in the small, medium and large versions of our latest Valentine’s gift basket design: “Simply Sweet”.

Since Pomegranates are in season right now, they’ve been showing up in a lot of our fresh seasonal fruit gift baskets. Pomegranates are so delicious, full of health benefits and, I think, are a really fun snack. Just last night with a mouth full of seeds I told my husband, “Man, I could just eat these Pomegranate seeds like popcorn!” He said, “Really? Like popcorn?” After I ate my way through one and a half Pomegranates worth of seeds, I think he started to concede.

I’ve been eating Pomegranates since I was a kid, but honestly, it was always a messy task for me. I would take a wedge of it outside into the grass, bend over slightly and eat it like a watermelon. I don’t know why, but I actually never knew it was ok to eat the seeds! My youngest daughter taught me to eat the seeds and all. But…it was still so messy! How do I get all of those delicious Pomegranate seeds out of the fruit without getting red juice everywhere or chewing on pith or the hard skin?

I’ve since found a few different techniques for getting the seeds out of the Pomegranate, but this one is my favorite so far…

I do it a little bit differently from the video, in that I don’t cut the Pomegranate in half, but instead score around it (all the way around from crown to bottom to crown again, on two sides) about 1/4 inch deep, just through the skin, and break it open under water into four wedges. Then “invert” the wedges and push the seeds out with your fingers. With this technique I can de-seed three Pomegranates in a matter of 5 minutes.

I like this technique because a.) you don’t cut all the way through the pomegranate thereby not getting red juice on yourself or the cutting board; b.) no juice goes squirting everywhere when the seeds pop out; and c.) the seeds easily separate from the pith which is discarded.

Now, I have a bowl of fresh Pomegranate seeds waiting for me in the refrigerator anytime I want! I’ve even been packing a handful of seeds for my girls’ school lunches. They love it!

Here is another technique which involves smacking the Pomegranate with a wooden spoon; but with this one I still get red juice squirted on my hands and on the countertop, so you decide which one works best for you…

Do you have a different technique that you use to remove the seeds from a Pomegranate? Let me know what you have tried and what works best for you. And enjoy those Pomegranates!!